Posted Saturday, January 15, 2005
The first step in writing an article is finding a topic or subject, something to write about. This might seem to be a huge task, but it does not need to be. There are many different avenues to finding a topic. The ability to use them will help you overcome your fear and enable you to start developing ideas for writing the article.
One avenue to finding a topic is to brainstorm. I used this method when I taught Sophomore creative writing classes in high school. It requires you to think of as many topics as possible, concentrating on compiling a list of ideas as quickly as posssible. Write these ideas down as you think of them. You can judge the (quality) of them later.
Now that you have a list of topics, you will want to go over them and choose the one you want to write about. Once you have chosen the topic, your next step is to outline. This gives you an opportunity to record, organize, and evaluate your topic before the actual writing. For example, you may start by choosing the general subject "ezines." As you outline your article, you will need to find a part of the general subject to write about. For example, from "ezines," you might choose one of the following:
What is an ezine?
How to publish an ezine
Once you have chosen a specific topic on which to write, you should decide on the reason or purpose for writing. A purpose for writing an article usually falls into one of four groups: to describe something, to tell a story about something, to explain something, or to persuade your readers to do something. For example, let us say you chose to write about ezine subscribers. You purpose for writing the article may one of the following:
How to obtain subscribers for your ezine. How to keep subscribers once you have them.
With your purpose in mind, you should write a sentence that states your main idea. When you are ready to start writing your article, you may use this sentence as the topic sentence In addition, the sentence will help you to organize your thoughts and ideas In writing about ezine subscribers, you might write one of the following topic sentences.
The subscribers are the life blood of an ezine. An exine and its subscriber base are two parts of a single whole.
You must also consider your reader. During the outlining stage, you should keep in mind who your readers are and what are their interests. Why would they be interested in your article? Not everyone is interested in ezines and subscribers. You must target you article to those who are interested. Who are they? Ezine publishers, those who are considering publishing an ezine, and those who have considered publishing, but have dropped the idea and need a little encouragement.
After you have chosen a topic, stated your purpose, and determined your audience, it is time to start outlining your article. This will help you to see exactly what you want to develop in your article and what details are needed to support each main idea. Don't worry about it looking like a final polished work. Just outline your article as follows:
The relationship of ezines and subscribers The importance of subscribers Purpose
What the article will provide for the reader Methods
How to obtain more subscribers Free Ads in other ezines
Paid ads in other ezines
Pay for subscribers services Subscribers for ads
Now that you have your outline, you are ready to begin writing. Don't let that frighten you. Just write using your topic sentence to begin the first paragraph and continue from there. When you need more information on a subject, use your search service on the internet and you will find all you need. Just keep writing. Don't worry about the quality. You can take care of that during the editing period. If necessary, add links to where information my be found, e.g., ezine directors.
With your first draft finished, it is time for editing. Go over every sentence to make sure it is complete and coherent. Edit every paragraph to make sure it ties in with your outline. Do a complete edit and rewrite as necessary. Check for misspelled words.
Now rewrite your complete article and proofread it carefully. If necessary, let someone else read it. When you are satisfied with the final product, pat yourself on the back. You are on your way to becoming a professional.
About the Author
Luther Powell (Papalou) is the publisher of "A Poor Man's Newsletter." It contains tips and articles on various writing and marketing techniques. You may subscribe to it at: Papalou@bellsouth.net?subject=Subscribe
Luther Powell is a 79-year old retired minister/educator. He is the author of numerous articles and manuals. He publishes a newsletter "A Poor Man's Newsletter."